Extremely irritating

It’s not really surprising, but it is very annoying and it most certainly isn’t flattering. One of my photographs of my original work has been used by a website promoting mass produced scarves.

Last week I was doing my monthly online research and tidy up, and checking my Google Analytics, when I saw this search results page and noticed one of my scarves. Naturally, I had been expecting to see my work on an image search for ‘hand painted silk scarf’, but not my photograph associated with another website, and, to add insult to injury, wrongly describing the scarf as hand dyed and not hand painted.

My photo of my work promoting another site.

Over the years I have been contacted by various people and asked if they could use a photo. I’ve always said that’s fine and mentioned in passing it would be nice if they included a credit for me. However, these people have not only purloined my photo, they are also using my painted scarf to advertise their website, all entirely without my permission and with no acknowledgement or link to my online shop. I did a quick recce of their site and it is a puzzle, oddly changing and without any details of who or where in the world it is based. Something doesn’t feel quite right about it and I won’t be clicking on any of their links again even if they do pinch another photo.

And this is my scarf as it appears on my online shop.

I have worked hard to promote my business. During the past five years, as well as designing and painting the silk, I have spent hours photographing, photoshopping and managing the presentation of my online shop. I have paid for and attended a photography course to improve my product photography and photoshoot skills. I am both angry and disappointed that my work (the silk painting and the photography) has been used in this way and my luxury scarves have been linked to a dubious, mystery website. I suppose this kind of episode is to be expected in the ‘Wild West’ world of the Internet even for a minnow venture like mine and it’s simply a case of shrugging your shoulders, forgetting about it and getting on with business as usual.

Author: agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.

17 thoughts on “Extremely irritating”

  1. And what precisely will they gain? In the unlikely event they actually sell and send out any scarves, the disappointed customers won’t be going back for a second bite, and may even demand a refund. Worth a call to – I dunno, it’s not my world – Trading Standards? Grrrr.

    1. After having a good hunt around on this issue there really isn’t anything I could do. It appears to be a very common problem. Trading Standards can’t follow up if the nuisances are based abroad and that’s if you can trace where a site like this is hosted. Quite quickly I got scared off when trying to follow links and I didn’t want to invite Trojan trouble or viruses onto my site or computer. It’s all seen as part of the colourful tapestry that’s the Internet world of the 21st century.

    1. Yes, it is annoying. I am not sure if it’s still using my stuff as it looks like a continuously changing site and I suspect it is not what it at first appears to be. One to avoid clicking on!

    1. Yes, it is both as you say, but there’s not much hope in stopping this kind of activity. I could put photo watermarks all over my pictures, but that would spoil them. These episodes are all part of the 21st-century online experience by the looks of it and you just have to grin and bear it.

  2. I am feeling for you and it’s happened to me, a similar weird site situation that doesn’t really seem to be a site. My crime novel reading makes me think there is a nefarious purpose and the photo was a victim of kidnapping. It does make your blood boil.

    1. Yes, I agree. It is all a little unnerving isn’t it especially when you can’t actually find out anything real about them. I stopped investigating when it crossed my mind that it could be something rather unpleasant. Oh dear, I don’t know this world of ours!

      1. Yes. I feel the same way. There are things going on with their own agendas that would never cross my mind. I figure, sometimes, don’t pull up the rock and look under it.

  3. It certainly is an odd-looking website and I can’t figure out what they are trying to sell or who is behind it. It almost looks like a weird imitation Pinterest. I’m glad you found a philosophical approach to it.
    I have just discovered some of my memoir sentences have been plagiarised in a novel! Some word-for-word, some with the sentence structure re-arranged. I’ll be contacting my agent and publisher to understand what, if anything, happens next – but, like you – I do not find it at all flattering and am totally gob-smacked!

    1. Goodness, though I am not surprised either. People are just so blatant these days and very, very lazy. It will be interesting to see what your publisher says.
      Regarding the ‘odd’ website don’t think it is genuine at all and I would NOT do anymore clicking on it. My daughter says it keeps disappearing totally – all very suspicious.

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